Message Text: Ecclesiastes 6:1-12
Solomon is textbook midlife crisis: growing older, can’t sleep, stagnate career, mediocre marriage, lack of purpose, a few health problems, and a lot of regrets. When a majority of these ingredients join together, the stage is set for a crisis.
More specifically, watch out for the unlucky thirteen says Don Anderson:
1.The recognition of the approach of old age, and an increasing desire to avoid it;
2.A sense of boredom after twenty to twenty-five years of marriage;
3.A severe feeling of sadness and loss over the fact that the children are grown and about to leave home;
4.A decline in physical health—the heart palpitates occasionally and the body lugs around extra pounds;
5.Job security threatened by younger workers or computer replacements;
6.Failure—especially the recognition that there are unrealized personal and professional goals which may never be met;
7.Success—(ironically) which has proved unfulfilling, not “all it was cracked up to be”;
8.A consuming thirst to get rich;
9.A perceived need for new challenges, experiences, and opportunities;
10.A desire to search for real meaning and purpose in life, coupled with a feeling of futility concerning present activities;
11.Weariness regarding hassles and responsibilities;
12.A fierce longing to escape gnawing problems and instead start over in life, making a new beginning;
13.The absence of an intense desire to walk with God and to know Him more intimately.
When several of these thirteen circumstances exist simultaneously, even in varying degrees, then you have a very real emotional, physical, and spiritual pressure cooker. Like other men in crisis, Solomon’s perceptions about life have changed. Our overcommitted lifestyle, misplace values, neglect of God, and lack of knowledge about His ways finally catch up with us, as we are tested for unworthy goals.
Three Key Phrases… in Ecclesiastes 6
The Preacher-King Solomon makes use of three memorable phrases to describe his conclusions from his search for meaning and purpose in life. "Under the sun" (v.1,12) occurs thirty-five times within the book; “meaningless” (v.2,9) or "vanity", twenty-five times; and "grasping (chasing after the wind – v.9) for the wind", nine occurrences. All three phrases occur in this section. He hammers these phrases home. “Meaningless … under the sun … I said in my heart”—those are the buzz words of a man in crisis. When Solomon says them, he reveals that he is in real trouble. It’s as if he is saying, “It’s meaningless, all this stuff I’m doing! It’s under the sun—it doesn’t count for anything lasting and eternal.”
Three Life Rules…
Life Rule on Wealth: Your life can be full while at the same time your heart can remain empty. Wealth without joy. You know what the solution is to a joyless life? Pleasing God, not pleasing ourselves. I didn’t say perform for God; no, please God. You serve Him. Why no joy? Under the sun
Life Rule on Possessions: Improving your station in life doesn’t mean you’re succeeding in life. Possessions without satisfaction. Enjoy the things you have and the years you’ve been given. Why no fulfillment? Meaningless
Life Rule on Honor: There will always be someone above and beyond your reach of fame. Honor without fulfillment. Why no contentment? Chasing after the wind
Eventually, you will face loss. You have to learn to handle things the way they are, not the way you would like for them to be. are there some solutions to overcome a Life Crisis. How can we turn a crisis into a fresh start? Here are ten life-lines or life-anchors (followed by a verse from Ecclesiastes 6 that suggests it):
1. Acknowledge the Crisis 1 I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on mankind:
2. Think Before Making Big Changes 12 For who knows what is good for a person in life, during the few and meaningless days they pass through like a shadow?...
3. Start asking yourself some questions. 12 …Who can tell them what will happen under the sun after they are gone?
4. Be grateful for what you have 9 Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite.
5. Forget Numbers 6 even if he lives a thousand years twice over
6. Develop Resilience 10 Whatever exists has already been named, and what humanity is has been known;
7. Grow into a positive mindset 2 God gives some people wealth, possessions and honor
8. Determine your personal assets, what you have to offer 11 The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?
9. Create New Plans with a Purpose 8 What advantage have the wise over fools?
10. Improve your Lifestyle 3 A man may have a hundred children and live many years;
Ten anchors to steady you in the storm.
There is only One who can walk you through the crisis. Why don't you open your life up to Him today? As Warren Wiersbe puts it, "What good is it for me to add years to my life if I don’t add life to my years?"